Remote jobs have largely been reserved for wealthy, well-educated workers. But that appears to be changing.
The vast majority of remote jobs are still held by college-educated workers, but a growing number of people without degrees are now working remotely. In May, nearly 4% of all US jobs postings were for remote roles that did not require college degrees, up from 0.6% a year ago, according to LinkedIn data provided to Quartz. That surpassed the growth rate of remote jobs requiring college degrees, which rose from 2% to 7% of all job postings.
The most popular remote jobs in the US that don’t require college degrees are customer service representative, salesperson, administrative assistant, data entry specialist, and sales development representative, according to LinkedIn.
The pandemic has pushed many in-person roles to go online, according to Guy Berger, an economist at LinkedIn. Now, jobs like fitness instructors and medical professionals can do some aspect of their work remotely thanks to tools like Zoom and Slack. If companies are allowing their employees to work remotely, the idea is that the policy will affect workers at all levels—giving a growing number of workers in the lower ranks more choice than they ever had before.
This development could expand the talent pool for employers, Berger notes. More people may move laterally from industries that are not as remote-friendly, such as construction or restaurant, to ones that allow for more remote work, he says.
But this also raises the question of whether the outsourcing of these jobs will become more prevalent, as some companies look to cut office costs. Companies already contracting out services may have more ability to look for cheaper options abroad, wrote Daniel Zhao, an economist at Glassdoor, in an email: “Inevitably, employers with an expanding remote workforce will consider why a job done remotely in Idaho can’t be done remotely in India.”
The labor market still remains in flux—for instance, some remote jobs may revert back to in-person roles—but Berger says he expects the pool of remote jobs that don’t require college degrees to expand.